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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffJDLasica Date: Sep 15, 2005 9:30am
Forum: ourmedia Subject: Ourmedia - a different mission

Anyone who spends a bit of time in the Internet Archive knows they've got things set up a certain way: the Prelinger Collection, concert videos, collections of moving images, and so on.

Ourmedia is a different creature. We've blown open the doors and invited the world in. More than a repository, we're also a community site and Learning Center.

Like the Archive, we're a nonprofit (just applied for 501c3 status) with a moderator team modeled after Wikipedia; we have several dozen moderators in 12 countries around the world.

We allow instant publishing, so all our curation happens after the fact. It's proved to be a compelling proposition for a lot of people -- more than 40,000 people have joined in the past five months.

We also are the first collection in the Archive that includes photographs, and we thank the Archive for opening its doors to the wonderful world of digital imagery.

As a result of its different mission, the Archive's Ourmedia collection is messier than its other collections. That's democratic media for you. To add to the mess, our members can edit their metadata on Ourmedia's servers, but they don't have access to the metadata on archive.org that accompanied their original upload.

Oh, and there's one other thing you'll notice here: the occasional file that violates our Site Rules (http://www.ourmedia.org/rules), which state that you can publish only the material that you have the right to publish.

If it were only so clear-cut. Unfortunately, this is an extremely muddled area of the law, and frankly, it hurts my layman's head. Our current policy is to remove music, video and other material that clearly violates our Site Rules -- for example, Green Day mp3s, episodes of "Lost," or "Star Wars III."

Other material -- such as compilations, mashups, remixes -- are another matter. Our practice has been to point our members to our Fair use guidelines:

http://www.ourmedia.org/rules/fair-use

But we're not lawyers -- we're not even law students! So we leave it to our members to follow our guidelines when they're asserting their fair use rights.

We want to make sure that Ourmedia -- and the Archive -- never becomes a place that offers any refuge to those who are appropriating others' material. So we depend on our readers to help protect our community -- see our Neighborhood Watch page for examples of content we've removed:

http://www.ourmedia.org/node/4071

If you see an item on Ourmedia that clearly doesn't belong there (it will have an accompanying page n the Archive), please let us know about it by filling out this easy form:

http://www.ourmedia.org/help/report-abuse

Then, we'll take care of it, both on our site and on the Archive. We check all our messages.

Thanks! Happy to answer any questions below.

JD Lasica
Executive Director and co-founder, Ourmedia.org